Unable to capitalize on a pro-Ducks crowd in Helsinki, Anaheim dropped its 2011-12 season opener to the Sabres 4-1.
Nate Guenin scored the lone goal for the Ducks in the 2011 Compuware NHL Premiere game played at Hartwall Areena. It was the first career tally for the defenseman, who has spent parts of six seasons in the NHL.
Assisting on the second period play was rookie Maxime Macenauer, who notched his first career point in his first career game. The center was a third-round selection (63rd overall) by Anaheim in 2007 NHL Entry Draft.
Thomas Vanek scored a pair of power-play goals and Ryan Miller made 29 saves to power the Sabres to victory.
The Sabres were listed as the home team for the game, but it was the Ducks who carried the local flavor on their roster, with future Hall-of-Famer Teemu Selanne and veteran center Saku Koivu both hailing from Finland.
They were largely non-factors, however, as each finished a minus-1 rating and a single shot on goal to his credit, and Koivu took an early hooking penalty that led to Vanek's goal at 4:02 of the first that opened the scoring and put Buffalo in front to stay.
Offseason acquisition Ville Leino -- the Sabres' lone Finnish player -- also scored in the first period for the Sabres, and newly appointed team captain Jason Pominville had their other goal.
Goaltender Jonas Hiller played his first full game for the Ducks since shutting out the Oilers on Feb. 13. Hiller, who missed most of the final few months of last season with vertigo-like symptoms, stopped 21 of 25 shots.
Following the game, Anaheim traveled to Stockholm, where it will face the New York Rangers in another Premiere game Saturday (1 p.m. ET, Versus, TSN), while Buffalo headed to Berlin for the first regular-season NHL game in Germany against the Los Angeles Kings, also Saturday (2 p.m. ET, TSN2).
The Sabres led 2-0 after 20 minutes Friday, with Vanek's power-play goal and Leino's goal at 8:30 providing the early margin. Leino signed a lucrative six-year contract during the summer after enjoying a breakthrough season in 2010-11 for the Flyers.
Guenin, who had 2 assists in 17 NHL games during brief call-ups for the Flyers, Penguins and Blue Jackets over the past five seasons, cut the Ducks' deficit in half when he solved Miller 4:32 into the second.
But the Sabres got the goal right back, as Pominville struck 73 seconds later. Vanek picked up the primary assist, and then added his second goal on the man-advantage at 11:59 with Andrew Cogliano in the box for tripping.
From there, it was all Miller -- literally -- in the third period. The Ducks outshot the Sabres 11-0 in the final 20 minutes, but the 2010 Vezina Trophy winner didn't let one get past him and Buffalo maintained its comfortable lead until the final horn.